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Diego Valeri with another wonder goal. October 28, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in MLS, U.S. soccer.
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The little known footballing nation above Mexico produced a great goal this weekend. The Portland Timbers are tops of the west and headed to the playoffs? Yep, that’s how that works over here.. But before they get set to meet Colorado or Seattle the Timbers cemented their place in the standings with a 5-0 thrashing of Chivas USA.  Here is one of those goals, it’s a chip, its beautiful.


Neymar signs for… Oregon State University? May 31, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Brazilian soccer, MLS, Spanish soccer.
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The Brazilian starlet was all but destined to be Barcelona’s next great South American star. Instead, Neymar has decided to take his talent South beac… Err Corvallis, Oregon! As pictured below the 21-year-old striker has closely monitored the progression of Portland Timbers GREAT Ryan Johnson and has decided to take on 4 years of eligibility, just like former OSU stand-out, Johnson. This of course makes a lot of sense due to a recent independent study which I just made up that says  U.S. soccer players have a 74% chance to be more successful in the pro ranks if they opt for the college route. A couple more interesting statistics, Neymar is now 69% more likely to puke immediately following a beer bong attempt gone wrong, but is also 93% less likely to contract gonorrhea after a transexual orgy… We all have our vices.

With the African Nations Cup coming up, the Premier League needs Thierry Henry December 23, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, U.S. soccer.
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Somewhere, someone seems to have decreed that the idea that Thierry Henry could sign for an English club this January should be treated as insanity. I don’t know why, because it makes perfect sense to me.

It may be that English pundits are simply unfamiliar with Henry’s time at Barcelona. The English narrative surrounding Henry is that Arsene Wenger took an anonymous Juventus winger and unleashed his potential by moving him to center forward. When he went to Barcelona, people seemed to forget about him after his misfit first season under Frank Rijkaard.

Nobody has ever given Henry enough credit for his second season at Barcelona. He scored more than a goal every other game. And he did it, playing on the left wing in a 4-3-3.

If Henry is seen as a player who can contribute effectively from the left wing in a front three, he seems like just the man for Arsenal. Gervinho will leave Arsenal for the African Cup of Nations in January. The Ivorian is the Gunners’ starting left winger and he’s similar in style to Henry: moves intelligently, cuts in onto his right. Henry’s no longer as fast as Gervinho, but he has a better touch and certainly finishes better. He also knows the club and appears to have matured and mellowed out. It doesn’t make sense to sign him as cover for Robin van Persie, since even if the Dutchman’s understudy, Marouane Chamakh, is going to the Nations Cup too, the South Korea striker Juyong will still be waiting in the wings.

And it’s not just Arsenal. Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou, another Ivorian striker who cuts in from the wing will also be leaving for the Nations Cup, along with Didier Drogba. Fernando Torres is basically no longer a footballer, and if he isn’t reincarnated with the club’s Ivorians away, meaning that Chelsea will be down to Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku up front. Henry could do a job for them.

Henry has also been linked to Everton, which shows you how smart David Moyes is. The Toffees are short of goals and creativity and Henry would be an excellent source of either, certainly better than Louis Saha or Denis Stracqualursi.

There’s also Newcastle, which has a strong francophone emphasis, seems to be going places, and will lose Demba Ba to Senegal’s Nation’s Cup bench. These are just clubs that need cover, too. Henry could enhance nearly any of England’s clubs and, since the loan would be short-term, there’s very little downside to the move. If none of England’s clubs make a move for Henry this January, they’ll be the ones suffering from insanity.

Who Is Tim Matavž, and Why Does He Hate Freedom? November 15, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in International soccer, U.S. soccer.
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With a most glorious two goal lead at half time the United States of America, freedom and gastric bypass looked to roll past Italy’s eastern neighbor and footy juggernaut, Slovenia. Comfortably embracing a 3-1 spot at the end of 45 minutes, stars and stripes were all smiles. Just to clarify I don’t like alliteration, that was an accident, forgive me. Someone who shan’t be forgiven is Mr. Matavž and his flamboyant display of rich talent and total disregard for America’s well being.  As if the soccer rich country of a bustling 2.1 million needed anymore help on the pitch, Matavž tried his best to keep our righteous brothers from the best country on earth from what was rightfully their own, a win. With his tricky footwork and top class positioning, Matavž exploited America’s most abundant natural resource, boundlessly slow center backs.


Modern Fascist headdress

Sure Slovenia suffers from a large degree of crippling poverty and corruption but who are they, and who is Matavž to try to ruin our dreams on this day. I’m sure the 10’s of hundreds of people watching it on ESPN, like Alexi Lalas were thinking, why am I such an entitled ginger dickhead and who are these Yugoslavian fools trying to beat us at our arguably 4th most heralded sport. I’m not sure if we can prosecute Slovenian’s living in Slovenia who have never been to the States for Treason, but seriously looking into it is on my immediate agenda. Oh America ended up winning 3-2, but that isn’t the point, what is he trying to prove with a chefs hat and gloves on? Is this some sort of fascist attempt to recruit food service employees for a full on revolution? Probably.

SI.com reporter uncovers US Soccer’s player-cloning plot! November 12, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in U.S. soccer.
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Here’s a quote from Peter Berlin’s analysis of the recent friendly between the USA and France:

For that reason, it doesn’t matter now whether he believes his best midfield pairing involves Michael Bradley or Jermaine Jones or the starters Friday, Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu. Edu and Beckerman were both winning only their second caps. It will take a while before Klinsmann knows exactly what he has in them. He needs to find out.

(emphasis mine.)

Kyle Beckerman (17 caps) and Maurice Edu (30 caps) were winning their second caps?

There’s only one explanation for this: Peter Berlin, through dogged journalistic pursuit of the truth, has uncovered a shocking secret: The U.S. Soccer Federation, taking cues from the film Moon, has an infinite store of clones for several of its midfielders. They are periodically incinerated and replaced, really for no reason whatsoever, except possibly the LOLs.

Dastardly. But why does Berlin have to be so coy as to just hint.

US broadcasters paid more for World Cup broadcasting rights than any other country. That’s insane. October 16, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in U.S. soccer.
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At first it defies belief to think that a country that’s relatively indifferent to soccer can provide FIFA with its biggest TV rights payments. That’s what Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl said in his Thursday column.

But it actually makes sense.

  1. The US has a huge population, which is a lot of viewers to be reached.
  2. The US has a huge economy. US TV networks can afford to pay more than ones in Brazil.
  3. There are more Spanish-speakers in the US than in any other country aside from Mexico, according to some estimates, meaning that the US has one set of bids for a soccer-ambivalent majority population, and another for a soccer-mad minority. Wahl even says the Spanish-language rights to the World Cup go for more than the English-language ones, which is in itself crazy.

Nevertheless, mind-boggling.

Law & Order exposes Russian football personalities. August 30, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Clumsy American attempts to explain soccer, English soccer.
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This comes courtesy of The Guardian. I felt it was funny enough to repost. One wonders whether Roman Pavlyuchenko’s residing in Sheepshead Bay, some distance from North London indeed, explains why he’s never really got up and running for Tottenham Hotspur, especially if he’s been “running with” fictional murder suspects and loansharks.

Don’t be surprised if Law & Order names its next three Polish characters Fabianski, Kuszczak and Szczesny (although it would be a surprise if anyone figured out how to pronounce “Szczesny”).

The Barcelona the bad and the Timbers. August 28, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in European soccer, MLS, Spanish soccer, U.S. soccer.
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Where Cooper spends most of his time

I absolutely loathe the New York Yankees. My disdain towards Ben Roethlisberger outside of his noted deviant tendencies is aided by the team’s unmatched NFL success of 6 Superbowls. For no apparent reason I agree with Just For Men Gel in more ways than one, I”m just under the impression that Emmitt Smith IS trash. And then there is my beloved Barcelona, fighters of Castilian oppression, proprietors of the beautiful game, and undoubted soccer behemoth. They are arguably at the pinnacle of their existence with a team that hears whispers of “the greatest of all time.” Quite the opposite feeling I generally have for front runners. To be honest I have only been a fan since they were some level of, (better than every team in La liga, save the possibility of Real Madrid). But then again in modern Spanish football this is all a forgone conclusion. Unless of course Malaga signs a few, eight or nine more crafty foreigners, Italians maybe?

What goes hand in hand with supporting a winner is defending that fanhood. In this instance, I can’t argue. I liked Barcelona because they were good. It wasn’t as though I was force-fed soccer when my sports-fandom was in its infancy. For some reason our aluminum foil covered bunny ears which controlled my Television well into middle school weren’t able to pick up fox soccer channel. And while my childhood friends were always down to play a pick up game of almost anything, soccer was NEVER a choice. We’d set up recycle bins as goals and scrounge up hockey sticks before they’d let me bring a soccer ball into the mix. Having your 6 closest friends all play football and at the same time dismiss soccer as sport leads to a weird level of self hate. Despite the fact it was obviously the sport I excelled at most, I put the least amount of work into the craft. Soccer was September to the end of November and that was that.

Ultimately I owe my allegiance towards Barcelona to two people, Ronaldihno and Alex Tomchak. One was a little bit more vital to the success of the team, the other, at least twice as Polish. So its a crap shoot to say who is REALLY more important. I must say it is a fairly easy job to support a team with as much recent success as the Blaugrana have seen. But winning titles and cups lose there luster when the notion of surprise has been whittled into theories on we could blow this one, rather than the jubilance of triumph. There is a difference between feeling exhausted after your side wins a well fought game, and feeling relieved. And when I start feeling relieved watching the best team on earth rip teams apart on the pitch of Camp Nou, I remember a day from now Rodney Wallace is sure to disappoint with three drastically errant crosses.

It isn’t that the Portland Timbers (or Rodney Wallace) are that bad, I mean everyone in the MLS is a professional by the dictionary’s standard. They just do things a bit differently, IE: struggle to connect the midfield to anything, whether that be from the defense forward or the Front line, back. Which is unfortunate for a team which arguably has its 3 best players (Nagbe, Chara and Jewsbury)  in the midfield. Even when the Timbers win they are lucky to see 40 percent of the possession. But god damn it they try, and no one tries harder than Adidas’ MLS headman Kenny Cooper. Which may ultimately be the reason why I hate him, also because he isn’t good at soccer. I could go on for an eternity about the frustration and toil my home town team puts me through, but alas, I like it. Right now they are fighting it out for the most American of playoff spots, the Tenth seed, yes out of 18  teams. The MLS is certainly a different brand of soccer and the Timbers quite frankly aren’t nearly ready to compete for a championship, which is somewhat refreshing.

Clint Dempsey probably elbowed some dudes. October 3, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, U.S. soccer.
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How would you feel if a giant defender smashed your eye socket with his elbow in midair, leaving you looking like you’ve grown a third cheekbone that is purple for some reason? If you’re USA midfielder Clint Dempsey, you score the go-ahead goal and then say this:

I mean, those type of things happen in football. I’m sure I’ve elbowed a couple of players as well. You know, there wasn’t a foul called in the play, but it’s a tough game. You just got to keep going and go on with it. I was able to get the goal, which, you know, was good.

What balls.

Latest installment in the “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE” Saga: Maradona to the USA? PLEASE August 16, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Argentine soccer, U.S. soccer.
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I confess: When I read about the possibility of Diego Maradona replacing Bob Bradley as United States coach, I got a little bit hot under the collar.

Forget Aston Villa, Diego! You could be the one to make soccer big here, big as your enormous balls. Please, Diego, please.